Molecular Self-Assembly of Low-Loss Piezoelectric Films for MEMS Devices
This NASA SBIR program would demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating electronically self-assembled low loss piezoelectric materials for the development of Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based switches and filters. The primary focus of the Phase I program is to investigate suitable replacements for conventional polymer and ceramic transducer materials that are low cost, simple to fabricate, and comparable in performance. NanoSonic proposes to use modified electrostatic self-assembly (ESA) methods that allow the incorporation of a variety of materials with distinct constitutive properties into precisely dimensioned multilayer thin film actuators. During the Phase I program, NanoSonic would subtract to Virginia Tech and would work cooperatively to investigate and measure the characteristics of the actuating films. Thin film growth, molecular orientation, and morphology will be evaluated using spectroscopy, ellipsometry, and both force and electron microscopy. The resulting actuating properties of a fabricated prototype thin film actuator will be measured using equipment available at Virginia Tech. During Phase II, NanoSonic would incorporate a major US manufacturer of sensors, actuators, and MEMS products to optimize the ESA process and to demonstrate ESA thin-film based devices, including polymer MEMS.
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